Tournaments

Tournaments in their various forms were very popular in medieval times, and several were remembered in poems and armorials. Most are probably lost, but several have survived either in specialized collections of 'tournament armorials' (e.g. Valenciennes, Bibl.Mun., ms.806) or in larger composite armorials (e.g. Bellenville; Urfé; or Wien, ÖNB, ms.3297, an autograph of Gelre / Beieren herald).

The Tournament held at Chauvency in October 1285

This armorial (TCH) gives 91 names and/or arms of participants and spectators present at the tournament held on the plain between the castle and village of Chauvency and the town of Montmédy on the border of present Belgium and France.

The tournament was sponsored by the count of Chiny, who had his seat at Montmédy, and his brother Gérard de Looz seigneur de Chauvency. It followed the then common programme of festivities, jousts by pairs of knights and a melée of combat between to balanced parties.

Jacques Bretel, who was probably a minstrel and organizer of festivities and tournaments, described the occasion in an untitled poem of 4563 verses and included desriptions of arms and battle cries. The present armorial and comments are based on the edition ofthe poem by Maurice Delbouille (1932) and besides the coats-of-arms mentioned in the verses indicated, additional arms are added to all named participants, if possible - and provided with references and documentation. One of the manuscripts, Oxford, Bodley, ms.Douce 308, has 15 miniatures, which might be found in the various book cited or on the web.

The Tournaments held outside Saint Omer, Ardres and Calais in 1377

This armorial (TSO) gives 28 arms of the participants in the jousts held in three rounds between english-held Calais and the enclosing french positions. The occasion is not described in any of the references consulted, but the armorial, with an introduction giving place and time, is appended in blazon as segment 46 in the Armorial d'Urfé (Paris, BnF, ms.fr.32753 pp.149-150, a.o.). The text of the Urfé-segment is reproduced with identification of the individuals, notes and references.

Tournament in Bruges held 11th March 1393

This armorial (TBG) gives 99 arms of the participants in the jousts held in Bruges between two parties: one led by Jean d'Aa Sr. de Gruuthuse and the other led by Jean de Ghistelles & Harnes. The participants came from the town patriciate or held properties in the surrounding Vrije Kwartier.
The armorial is often appended to manuscripts of Traité de la forme et devis comme on fait les tournois by Réné d'Anjou D.Lorraine & C.Anjou (d.1480).

I would like to thank Jean-Marie van den Eeckhout for his comments on the draft of this paper and for his permission to draw on his excellent paper: Het Tornooi van Brugge van Dinsdag 11 Maart 1393. Vlaamse Stam, 2010, 46/5:377-406.

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